Shakespeare in the Park returns with MRU students

A much-loved annual summer theatre production is back in action in Calgary.

Outdoor production was on hiatus last year

About $300,000 was raised to secure the return of the show, which will be Midsummer Night's Dream this summer. (Mount Royal University)

A much-loved annual summer theatre production is back in action in Calgary.

After taking a year off to resolve financial worries, Shakespeare in the Park starts up again this week at Prince's Island Park.

Theatre Calgary is now working with Mount Royal University on the production.

Tom McCabe, president of Theatre Calgary, says the show is going back to its beginnings with a whole cast and crew of students. The production started in 1987 under Mount Royal University.

"People just want to be involved and they want to see students get a foot in acting and so on. So there's a lot of people interested in helping students," says McCabe.

McCabe says they've raised about $300,000 — "it's personal giving, it's corporate giving, and the government came through for us."

He says the funds were raised so quickly there wasn't time to design a set.

"We did Midsummer Night's Dream because it takes place in the forest and that's what we've got down here, of course, is a forest," says McCabe.

The actors have a couple more days to rehearse. Student Daniel Fong says this is all new and different.

"Well, I've never done a show for this long of time, I've never done Shakespeare before and I've never done it outside before, so this is a whole summer of firsts for me," says Fong.

Steven Evanik just graduated from Mount Royal University and says the resurrection of the show is "brilliant."

"It's really cool to see all the different training come into one area and we can see the process of different graduates, from different schools," says Evanik.

The show will run from June 27 to August 10, 2012.